UofG physicists set to lead international quantum network

Published: 18 February 2022

Physicists from the University of Glasgow have won a grant to establish an international network of researchers who will find new applications for an emerging field of quantum physics.

Physicists from the University of Glasgow have won a grant to establish an international network of researchers who will find new applications for an emerging field of quantum physics.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has supplied a grant of £200,000 to support the newly established International Network on Acausal Quantum Technologies (INAQT) over the course of the next three years.
The Network, led by Professor Sonja Franke-Arnold and Dr Sarah Croke from the School of Physics and Astronomy, aims to harness the potential of a concept known as indefinite causal order.
Indefinite causal order (ICO) is an emerging foundational concept of quantum science, so far largely unexplored and unknown to many mainstream quantum physicists.
While causality is embedded into our logical and scientific thinking, quantum processes may defy causal order by appearing to influence events in the past as well as the future. Recent experiments have demonstrated processes of indefinite causal order where events happen in a superposition of different sequences.
Practical applications of indefinite causal order could help replace or enhance quantum entanglement in technologies like imaging, communications, sensing or computing.
The Network builds on existing quantum research and development at the University of Glasgow, which includes leading QuantIC, the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Imaging, which was launched in 2014 as part of the £1bn UK National Technologies Programme.
Glasgow researchers also contribute to the three other UK quantum technology hubs, and the University recently launched a Centre for Quantum Technology to build on its expertise and experience as one of the largest quantum centres in the UK.
The Network will bring together experts from the UK, Europe, Australia and China to achieve four key goals for indefinite causal order research:

  • Create a critical mass of researchers capable of translating the fundamental concept of ICO into applications in quantum technology.
  • Provide a forum for capacity building and debate, with the aim to quantify the advantages of ICO for metrology, communications, computation and imaging.
  • Foster and support sustainable collaborations, which will persist beyond the duration of the network.
  • Establish ICO as a resource for Quantum Technologies, and to identify specific applications that would benefit from ICO in the short to medium term.

To do so, they will conduct a series of online and in-person collaboration events, workshops, and exchange visits to explore new ideas and inspire new partnerships.
Prof Franke-Arnold said: “We’re very pleased to have received funding from EPSRC for the International Network on Acausal Quantum Technologies. Indefinite causal order provides a truly new resource for quantum technologies, and our Network will aim to help realise the transformational potential for ICO and further the UK’s position as a leader in quantum research and development.”
Dr Croke added: “The Network brings together many of the world’s leading experts on indefinite acausal order, uniting the theoretical and experimental sides of this exciting field of quantum physics with colleagues who can help develop technical applications. We’re very much looking forward to working closely together to find new opportunities to share ideas, form new collaborations, and accelerate the potential of this new and intriguing phenomenon.”
The Network will include researchers from the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, Heriot-Watt, Bristol, Bath and Nottingham in the UK; Gdansk, Paderborn, Naples, Graz, Complutense de Madrid and Vienna in Europe; and Queensland, Griffith and Hong Kong internationally.

First published: 18 February 2022